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The psychological profile of the killer, in 6 typical features

The psychological profile of the killer, in 6 typical features

October 28, 2020

Murder is one of the most serious crimes that can commit the human being, and yet one of the oldest. From prehistory to the present, cases of people who have decided to end other people's lives in a premeditated way have been found. In fact, remains of massacres dating back more than 9,000 years have been found.

What characteristics does a murderer have? While there are a lot of causes or aspects that can mediate for a person to decide to take the life of another and it is not likely to establish a clear and universal profile for all murderers (there is a wide variety of possible profiles and types of killer ), in this article we try to outline a generic psychological profile on the subject.


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Murder and murder

We call murder the act whereby one person intentionally takes the life of another person, existing in the act treachery, cruelty or compensation for the performance of the act. In case none of the above three circumstances appears we would be talking about a homicide . Murder implies premeditation and the existence of some kind of motivation on the part of the causal agent to cause death. The agent causing the death by murder is called a murderer.

Murder is a crime of blood sanctioned by law and it can carry penalties that can go from prison to capital punishment, according to the legislation of the territory in which the defendant is tried.


The reasons that lead one person to kill another They can be very varied, from revenge to obtaining resources. There are many types of assassins and murders depending on the motive of the crime, the way to carry it out, the number of people killed or even the type of relationship established between victim and executioner. All this causes that a specific profile must be made for each case, being able to find different characteristics in each type of crime.

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Psychological profile of the murderer: common characteristics

It is extremely complicated to establish a general psychological profile of the murderer, especially taking into account the great variety in what refers to the possible causes of the murderous behavior.

Despite this, some of the following are indicated traits and characteristics that tend to be fulfilled in a large proportion of cases .


1. Vision of the other as a cause of damage, threat or obstacle

Although the concrete causes can be many, as a rule the person who commits a murder he sees his victim as someone who has caused him harm , represents a threat to their integrity or status or that of a loved one or represents an obstacle to achieve a certain purpose.

It can also be an act of premeditated violence against someone who resembles a person who has caused the killer harm, or even to satisfy a need with which the subject has nothing in principle to do.

2. High score in psychopathy

There are cases of murders that are committed against people who do not have any kind of relationship with the murderer, as in many cases of serial killers or in cases where the murderer in a hitman hired to end the life of a person.

However, the vast majority of murders that can be observed are carried out between people who know each other or whose environment is linked, even if their contact has been circumstantial. That means that the killer has the ability to emotionally distance himself from the victim, which fits a psychological profile with a high degree of psychopathy .

  • Related article: "Psychopathy: what happens in the mind of the psychopath?"

3. Discretion

Apparently, the personality of most assassins does not usually have great particularities that make them different from the rest of the population. The act of killing is not limited to a psychic structure that makes the person stand out because of the type of social skills he or she has.

4. In many cases, low level of assertiveness

Although they usually have a normal behavior, in many cases the murder occurs as a result of the birth of aggressiveness towards a specific person due to varying circumstances. The murderer is not able to manage the situation in any other way than with murder, or in spite of conceiving otherwise the gives priority to causing the death of the future victim .

5. There is not necessarily mental disorder

There is socially the idea of ‚Äč‚Äčidentifying murder with the presence of psychopathology. However, in general this is not the case.Normally most murders are caused by people considered mentally healthy , being some of the most frequent hate crimes, crimes of passion or those related to economic or resource aspects.

An exception can be found in serial killers, which tend to suffer extreme psychopathy, sociopathy or different disorders that alter the perception of reality.

6. Gender and age

In general murderers They are usually young or middle-aged males , although you can also find numerous cases of killers and even murderous children. Traditionally males tend to use more aggressive methods such as guns or guns while women tend to use less visible methods such as poisoning, although these tendencies seem to be less pronounced with the passage of time.

The serial killers: profile and characteristics in common

There are many types of assassins and murders, but one of the most traditionally called attention due to its harshness and the high number of victims left in its wake is the serial killer or serial killer .

Any individual who is a serial killer is considered a serial killer. At least three people are killed intentionally and usually with premeditation in a specific period of time, said murders being separated from each other.

This typology of murderers may also manifest a high degree of heterogeneity in terms of their characteristics, but they tend to share common elements. Among them are the following, which are shared mostly with people with psychopathy.

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1. Lack of empathy

The serial killer often uses murder as an instrument to obtain a benefit, for ideological reasons, or with the intention of unleashing a frustration or concrete fantasy. As a general rule he does not tend to know how to put himself in the place of his victim , lacking in the majority of empathy. A large part of them are classifiable as psychopaths and among their motivations there is a strange vision of reality, apart from the hegemonic ideologies.

2. They usually give appearance of normality

With some exceptions, the serial killer usually does not manifest strange elements in his behavior that lead to thinking about the possibility that they are.

3. Choice of vulnerable victims

In general, the serial killer chooses victims who may be vulnerable to their actions because they consider them weaker or that can be manipulated in some way to leave them in a situation of submission. This is done to note that you have control at all times.

4. They can be manipulators and even seducers

Many serial killers have a high capacity for manipulation and seduction, employing these skills to achieve approach their victims easily and without excessive resistance . They often establish relationships with some ease, although in general these relationships are superficial.

5. Environment of aversive origin

A lot of serial killers come from families or unstructured environments , with a high level of violence. Many of them have suffered various types of abuse throughout their lives that hinder the acquisition of empathy and concern for the environment.


10 Traits of a Psychopath (October 2020).


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